If Fit Bottomed Girls had a poster child, it would have been my mother. She had all the rules tied up in one neat little package: eat well but don’t overindulge, take little breaks when needed, drink lots of water, exercise daily and, most importantly, treat yourself with respect. She would wake me up in the morning for school with a back rub while sing-songing “Good Morning, Good Morning;” it was sublime and should be written into the “how to be a mother” handbook if there is such a thing.
She was a whiz in the kitchen and passed that love on to me at an early age. Fast food was not considered a treat, more like something to suffer through on the rare occasion when she did not cook. Dinner at six was a sit-down mandatory meal to be enjoyed with the family. The slowest eater I have ever seen, she always finished last.
Mom worked out of our basement, bookkeeping for the family business. Some days she never left the house but was always nicely dressed, including hair and make-up. When asked why she bothered since she was alone all day, she simply replied, “for myself.”
After school meant teatime for mom and snack time for my school chums. Her dress and demeanor earned her the nickname “June”—as in June Cleaver—always cheerful, the quintessential neighborhood mom.
Mom taught by example. After every holiday meal, once the dishes were cleared and our overstuffed bodies had migrated to the TV room, mom would cheerily pipe up with “Who wants to go for a brisk walk?” We kids thought she was nuts.
Sometimes her no-nonsense manner irked me. A whine of “I’m starving” one hour before dinner was usually answered with “just drink a glass of water.” Insistence usually warranted a piece of fruit. Not exactly what I was angling for.
I remember once reading a cover story about a genetically blessed Cosmo model. She bragged how she could eat anything she wanted, even chocolate. Chocolate? Not fair, I cried! I relayed this information to my mother who responded in kind, “Maybe she only wants two bites.” Touché!
As age sets in, more of her reflection appears in my mirror and the voice that encourages light snacks and brisk walks is my own. Like it or not, we all turn into our mothers, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. My doctor says my blood work is that of someone at least 10 years younger and my body weight has never been an issue.
The lessons she taught have served me well, what a great role model. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.
Who inspires you to live a healthier life? —Karen